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Is giving drugs to children the best option for AD/HD?

Drs. Tom and Laura Gross, Mills River Family Chiropractic / ABC Learning Lab

I am very reticent to publish anything negative about another person’s choices or approaches.I believe people should be informed and free to choose the best direction for themselves.I apologize in advance if anyone finds this article offensive.

Recently I attended the Annual Conference for the International Society for Neuronal Regulation.While there, I learned that in a recent study to be published in Cancer Letters, Texas researchers have found that after just three months, every one of a dozen children treated for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with the drug methylphenidate experienced a threefold increase in levels of chromosome abnormalities…occurrences associated with increased risks of cancer and other adverse health effects.

The researchers (University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and M.D.AndersonCancerCenter in Houston) say that to their knowledge this is the first study addressing the potential chromosome-breaking effects associated with treatment of children with methylphenidate, the generic name for a group of drugs that includes Ritalin, Concerta, Metadate CD and others.

"This study doesn't mean that these kids are going to get cancer, but it does mean they are exposed to an additional risk factor, assuming this study holds up," said Marvin Legator, an environmental toxicologist and principal investigator on the study by researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.Legator acknowledged this week that the study group is small. But he said it was the first such study involving results in humans."This should raise a red flag," Legator said. "There's no question we need a bigger study before we take any further major action."

The drug manufacturer Novartis continues to stand behind the safety and efficacy of Ritalin, which they say is an important treatment option for patients with ADHD.

I would like to focus on the word “option” for a moment after sharing the unfortunate story which follows.

One day early in 2000, Michael and Jill Carroll of West Byrne, New York, got a knock on their door from Child Protective Services. Their alleged crime wasn't abusing drugs, beating their child or withholding love. Rather, they were accused of refusing to give their 7-year-old son, Kyle, the popular-yet-controversial drug, Ritalin.

As a result, the Times Union of Albany reports, the Carrolls were put on a statewide list of alleged child abusers and thrust into an Orwellian court battle to clear their name and to make sure that Kyle wasn't forcibly removed from their home.

Earlier, the Carrolls had been reported by the local school district for taking Kyle off the psychotropic drug, which doctors say can treat the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

How many options aside from medications are being offered for AD/HD?Is there pressure to choose a particular option?What are the motivations behind such pressure? What kind of assistance is offered for people who choose a non-drug approach?What are the risks for choosing a non-drug option?What are the long term effects of a drug versus a non-drug option?

When I was a student in Chiropractic college, I learned about “informed consent”.I learned that if there was a 1 in a million chance that someone could have a stroke with my manual correction to their spine, that I should warn them before I touch them.I learned that I should inform people about all the other treatment options they could pursue aside from the care I could offer.This way people could make an informed choice.May I ask you, have you ever been given a responsible assessment of the virtues on a non-medicinal option?So where do we get information about options which are not in the common scope of medical practice?

According to the AmericanCollege of Gastroenterology, the second major cause for ulcers is irritation of the stomach arising from regular use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. According to recent congressional testimony, "the FDA as currently configured is incapable of protecting America against another Vioxx. We are virtually defenseless," said David Graham, associate director of the agency's Office of Drug Safety. When the FDA approves a drug it does not mean that it is "safe and effective"?

When the FDA approves a drug, it means that it has determined that the benefits of the drug will outweigh the risks when it is released into the general population.

I am not, I repeat, I am not opposed to drugs as prescriptions or over the counter options.I believe that sometimes drugs can be life saving options.I choose to focus my career on offering natural non-drug options and hope to get the message out to the public that there are indeed effective options with side benefits that have desirable long term effects.

I have pursued diligently natural and drug-free approaches to maintaining and restoring optimal health for years.I am committed to bringing the best in functional restoration concerning health to our region.At Mills River Family Chiropractic we offer options for optimizing a persons health and consider the whole person.We offer biochemical, neurological and musculoskeletal interventions from the perspective of restoring optimal function.We want to identify the cause and not simply change the symptoms of dysfunction.

I hope you can forgive the emotions behind this article.I am passionate about bringing genuine healing to children with AD/HD and as a parent I have felt pressured to put my children on drugs and have encountered what I felt was distain and prejudice against my decision to pursue something I felt was more likely to address the cause with lasting benefits.

Mills River Family Chiropractic offers cutting edge techniques for overcoming AD/HD naturally as well as for the restoration of health in general.If you or your loved ones need help healing, please consider the resources available in our clinic.You may call for an appointment at 828-891-8868.